Low palm oil production levels, KPK to support smallholders

PLANTATION and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani expressed grave concern over the low production levels among the country’s smallholders. Addressing attendees at the 14th Malaysian Palm Oil Industry Dialogue 2024, he announced that his ministry (KPK) is actively formulating plans to revitalise the sector.

Acknowledging the complexity of challenges facing the industry, Johari stressed the importance of collective action. Key issues discussed included labour shortages, sustainability initiatives, low productivity, competition with other palm oil suppliers, and the current tax structure.

“Labour shortages, particularly within Malaysia’s palm oil sector, remain a pressing concern,” he said.

Moreover, Johari announced collaborative efforts between the Human Resources Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry to address labour shortages, particularly within the palm oil sector.

The former finance minister also underscored the necessity of establishing a distinct Malaysian palm oil brand to secure a unique global market position.

“Maintaining the integrity of MSPO (Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil) certification standards is imperative,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) chairman Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen urged immediate action to improve oil palm fruit bunch yields to offset rising production costs.

“Concerted efforts need to be taken without further delay to improve this in order to offset the increase in the cost of production.

“As part of nation-building, the industry must embark on a large-scale replanting programme. Malaysia should be at the forefront among palm oil-producing countries in terms of oil yield per hectare,” he pointed out.

Furthermore, Bek-Nielsen also emphasised the need for collaboration within the downstream sector to ensure the recognition of Malaysian palm oil as a premium quality product globally, both for food and non-food applications.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Industry Dialogue 2024, hosted by MPOC, provided a platform for stakeholders to engage with government officials and address industry challenges through a town hall session. – Feb 23, 2024

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